Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall surprise--naked ladies!

Also known as autumn crocus, or meadow saffron, but how eye-catching are those? It isn’t a true crocus, and naked refers to the flowering in the absence of leaves. Colchicum autumnale is native to West Africa and parts of the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

This pretty patch popped up at Paulik Park in central Richmond over the past week or so. (It may have been planted this summer; the park has a lively gardening club and the soil appears to have been recently disturbed.) Flowers shoot up from corms, which will work indoors too if corms are placed upright amid pebbles in a bowl of water on a windowsill. By the way, a corm is a short, upright, underground plant stem that stores nutrients and allows plants to survive adverse conditions (cold or drought).

If planted in the garden after flowering, a rosette of strappy green leaves, 6-12 inches long, should appear the following spring.

2 comments:

kompoStella said...

nice shots of lovely flowers. i do like them - the fragility, the elegance and the colour - yet i also find them a little eerie. maybe it's the nakedness where we're so used to green covering?

Hugh said...

I think so. When you first see them, something certainly looks wrong.